" condors "
The Andean Condor
is the only living species of the genus Vultur
. A scavenger, it feeds off the carcasses of dead farm animals and deer, and although Paco tells Chatwin there are 'many,' it is now listed as 'near threatened' by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Its wingspan can reach up to three metres.
" Pedro de Sarmiento "
The Spanish explorer and writer Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa
was on the first vessel to traverse the Strait of Magellan from west to east. He was later sent out by King Philip II of Spain to fortify the area and in 1583 settled a colony he called Rey Don Felipe, but it was short-lived. When the English explorer Thomas Cavendish arrived in 1587 he found only ruins and renamed it Port Famine.
" Jackass Penguin "
The Magellanic Penguins are a close relative of the African Penguin (which more typically takes the name 'Jackass'). Chatwin claims that they are numerous in Patagonia and later talks of seeing 'millions. Black and white. Black and white,' but sadly they are under threat from a range of environmental issues, including a change in fish stock and oil spills from the rigs.
" Thomas Cavendish "
An English explorer who became the first man to deliberately circumnavigate the globe. Cavendish
set out from England on his ship Desire
in July 1586 and reached the Strait of Magellan eleven months later. He then sailed up the west coast of South America, reaching California before heading across the Pacific to the Philippines.
" Sir Philip Sidney "
Chatwin makes reference here to the Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sidney who died in battle in the Netherlands in 1586. His body was taken back to London for burial at St Paul's Cathedral.
" Hakluyt "
Named after the English writer Richard Hakluyt, who supported the settlement of North America with a vast body of published works, the Hakluyt Society was set up in 1846 to advance the knowledge of exploration by printing rare and unpublished accounts of voyages.
Chatwin also mentions Purchas. Samuel Purchas was a contemporary of Hakluyt and wrote on a series of pilgrimages in the seventeenth century.
" Drake's cabin "
The Elizabethan Admiral Sir Francis Drake set sail for South America in 1577 arriving at the natural port of San Julian over half a century after Magellan had named it in 1520.
" Book of Amadis "
The Book of Amadis
(Amadis de Gaula
) was a significant text in 16th century Iberia. Although its precise origins and authorship are unknown, it was an epic Knight's tale in twelve volumes.
The tale inspired Cervantes to write Don Quixote.